Proud Cantabrian Dan Carter has revealed the reason for his change of heart in joining the Blues, after previously saying "I never could do it".
The All Blacks and Crusaders great was unveiled by the Blues today as their latest signing, coming in as injury cover for Stephen Perofeta.
The 38-year-old first-five greeted the media almost as surprised and out of place as most fans were upon hearing the news, saying he wanted to "help the Blues" and "give back" to New Zealand rugby.
However, after previously talking up his loyalty to Canterbury, his signing with the Auckland franchise may raise a few eyebrows from those in red and black.
In an interview with Newstalk ZB last year while promoting his documentary film Dan Carter: A Perfect 10, Carter said he "could never" join the Blues.
"I've lived here in Auckland since about 2008," Carter said when asked about the time he almost joined the Blues. "I kept that pretty quiet from Cantabrians. I used to travel back and forth for a couple of years. Also I never could do it (join the Blues).
"I had a couple of offers. I knew John Kirwan pretty well who was coaching; Graham Henry did some coaching. They tried to get me to put on the Blues colours. But I just couldn't do it. There's not a lot of loyalty in sport these days and I was in a fortunate enough position to be able to decide to be loyal. It's my upbringing.
"If you watch the film you'll soon see I'm a Cantabrian, proud red and black, one-eyed. There was no other team I was going to play for."
Carter, who also wrote about similar reasons for not joining the Blues in his 2015 biography Dan Carter: My Story, said when news of his previous Blues offer was leaked to the papers, his nana called him in tears.
"Unfortunately it got leaked in the papers that I was talking to the Blues," he said last year. "And then my nana rang me up and she was in tears. And I had to tell her 'don't believe everything you read' and pretty much signed a new contract with Canterbury and the Crusaders the next day once I got that phone call from my nana."
Oh how things change.
Carter, well aware of jumping ship to the North Island side, said today that support from his family and some strong persuasion from his former teammate and new coach Leon MacDonald, as well as the nature of the current Covid environment, ultimately led to his decision to join the Blues.
"I talked to the old man as a proud Cantab ... As he has been throughout my career, he's been supportive," Carter said. "I've talked to Razor [Crusaders coach Scott Robertson] to let him know my reasoning, too.
"It's all happened really quickly. Last week I probably thought this was the last place I would be.
"It's a bit of a favour for a good mate of mine and I'll keep that favour in the back pocket. We've been teammates for a big part of my career and to be coached by him is great.
"I don't want to think about what it would be like to play against the Crusaders – if that were to happen. I'll deal with that later on."